Bangladeshi journalist assaulted for anti-graft reporting

Nephew of State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku yesterday beat in public a journalist at Bera upazila of Pabna for publishing a report on the alleged corruption by the relatives of Tuku.

In critical condition, Abdullah Al Mamun, zonal correspondent of Daily Kaler Kontho, was admitted to Pabna Medical College Hospital (PMCH).

A case was filed against six persons including Aminul Haque, Tuku’s nephew.

Journalists in the district condemned the incident and demanded punishment of the perpetrator.

Victim’s brother Al Mahamud Sarkar said Aminul along with his eight to ten accomplices suddenly attacked his brother Mamun around 10:00am when he was having tea at a roadside stall in Bera market area.

The attackers beat him up mercilessly with sticks and iron rods. Locals rescued the victim and admitted to Bera Upazila Health Complex. But upon suggestions by the on-duty doctors, he was shifted to the Pabna hospital.

Assistant Director of the hospital Dr Monwarul Aziz said the victim was undergoing treatment at the orthopaedic ward.

Mamun said the criminals beat him for publishing a news item in his newspaper last Friday that revealed corruption of Tuku’s relatives in the tender process of TR (test relief) and Kabikha programmes.

“After the news was published, the supporters of the minister got angry with me,” Mamun said.

Abdul Hai Sarkar, officer-in-charge of Bera Police Station, said victim’s brother Mahamud filed a case accusing six persons including the nephew of the state minister. The five others are Nazrul Islam, Jakir Hossain, Halim, Firoz and Faruk all belong to the local Awami League.

“Aminul Haque, son of Bodiul Alam, is the prime accused in the case. We have recorded the case and are investigating the incident,” the OC said.

Pabna Police Super Jahangir Hossain Matobbar said the law enforcers were trying to nab the criminals.

Following the incident, local journalists started demonstration to protest against the assault of Mamun. They held a protest rally on Bera Upazila Reporters Unity office premises around 12:00 noon with its President Sarkar Arifur Rahman in the chair.

Journalists Borun Roy, Shafiul Azam and Boshonto Das also spoke at the meeting. They said such an assault of a journalist for publishing news on corruption was “an attack on free journalism”.

Bera upazila journalists will hold a protest rally today demanding punishment of those responsible for the attack.

President of Pabna Press Club Prof Shibojit Nag and General Secretary Ahmedul Haque Rana also condemned the attack and demanded punishment to the perpetrators.